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December 2003

Subject: Oracle Built-In Packages
From: Scott Galliand

How do the editors/publishers decide which books require a new edition? I specifically ask in relation to Oracle Built-In Packages, of which I am an avid fan and regular user, but it hasn't been updated in five years.


Hi Scott,

I am a great fan of this book as well. I think it reveals an enormous amount of good (and hard to find elsewhere) information about built-in packages. Too few Oracle developers really use these packages to their best advantage.

I'd love to update the book, but we can't always make the financial case for an update. I wish more Oracle readers had bought the first edition—we'd be able to better justify the resources needed for a new one.

In addition to straight finances, though, there is a more fundamental issue with the book and the topic area. Oracle has added huge numbers of packages over the years (much of the database functionality ends up being added in the form of packages). How can we possibly cram solid discussions of all of the packages between the covers of any reasonably sized book?

We've made a few attempts to deal with this information problem. Oracle in a Nutshell contains a 200-page chapter that lists pretty much every built-in package supported at the time of printing, with a brief description and the header and parameter list. Of course, that doesn't provide the depth of OBIP, but it does provide a quick reference. More substantially, we are working on a new book, Mastering Oracle PL/SQL, which will be an expansion of the material in Oracle PL/SQL Programming for more advanced PL/SQL programmers. A fair amount of the content of that book will be packages. We won't attempt to cover nearly all of them, but will try to do justice to the ones most often used for real development projects. That book will be out in summer or early fall of 2004.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you were hoping for, but I hope it helps a bit.


Deborah Russell
Senior Editor, Oracle Series

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